Ashley Watson unveiled as Norfolk's new captain
PUBLISHED: 08:35 09 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:17 09 December 2018
Ashley Watson has been unveiled as Norfolk's new skipper in all formats of the game.
The 34-year-old allrounder’s promotion from vice-captain to Chris Brown was confirmed at Saturday’s annual meeting at Manor Park.
Brown stepped down at the end of last season to focus on a coaching job with the county and a number of other roles within the game, leaving his long-time deputy - who was already in charge of the one-day team - to take up the reins.
The new man in charge accepts Brown will be a tough act to follow - but is relishing the challenge and can’t wait for his first game as overall leader against Suffolk in the Minor Counties Knock-out Trophy on May 5.
“It’s still a long way off but I have already got itchy feet. I would be ready to play now!” said Watson.
“I have got some big shoes to step into but I have already had a taste of it by being in charge in the 50 over and Twenty20 games and I also had one Minor Counties match as captain last season.
“I have enjoyed leading the side and I am really looking forward to taking on the job on a full-time basis.
“Having played for Norfolk for 17 or 18 years this is a really proud moment for me - and I am confident I can make a good go of it.”
Watson takes over a side who finished fifth in last season’s Minor Counties Championship East Division while reaching the finals day of the Twenty20 competition and the quarter-finals of the Knock-out Trophy.
It was a more than solid season - and Watson and new vice-captain Sam Arthurton will be aiming to build on it in 2019.
With the East and West sections of the Championship set to be split into two divisions in a year’s time Norfolk will need to finish in the top five next summer to ensure they feature in the top flight - so there is immediate pressure on the new man in charge.
“It’s going to be a tough season that’s for sure but with team we are likely to have I am sure we will do well,” said Watson. “There are a lot of good, young players here and with (professional) Tom New coming back next season and Callum Taylor likely to be available it’s already looking good.”
Taylor, 21, was released by Essex last season, having made his name with Swardeston and Norfolk, and looks set to return to his home county in 2019.